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Monday, 24th of February, 6:02AM… I awaken. I had a dream and in this dream, I got there. I got there… I reached the promised land. I don’t know how I got there. I don’t even know where it was… but I got there with nothing but the coat on my back. No bag, no wallet, no money, no ID, no phone, no pills, no computer… off the grid, if there was one where I was… no nothing. No running… no airport… I was not trying to get somewhere or away from something, including myself. I just was there.
This was not a night terror. I knew no one. I was all alone, but in a crowd… which in and of itself is not disturbing. I’m used to being alone. I always traveled alone… particularly when no one knew I was leaving the country. In reality, I never traveled with anything or so much it needed to be checked… I had no baggage when traveling, just a backpack and purposeful tactical clothing with more than 70 pockets. In this dream, I made it with nothing and remember not much but walking around in circles (so to speak)… following the flow of people, wondering what I was going to do. Thinking that whenever i get home from wherever I am I will still have nothing. I had a coat and that’s all.
More than one month of half the normal dose of that which kept the monsters from my dreams… prevented the terrors, the sweats, the panics. The intended dose reduction to bring my dreams closer than the last fifteen seconds that I could remember under the influence of a good sleeper pill. I’m different now. I’ve evolved. I’ve experienced personal and spiritual growth that I never had an opportunity to explore up to this point in my life. If last night means anything, I hope that it is that my night terrors are gone forever.
That which haunted me my entire life is no longer so haunting and not much more than an ever more distant memory. In this dream, there was a huge building and I don’t know what it was, but all others were moving towards it and going into it… and I couldn’t go into it because I had a coat. I had nothing, yet I had too much. My intended migration towards minimalism during consciousness has moved from reality to a dream. My baggage is gone. It’s been wide open for all to see into for about four years now… but now, the baggage isn’t just open… it’s gone.
This was no requiem. It was dream. I had a real dream. Am I reborn? At the point I told someone IN my dream what was happening to me… with nothing… not knowing if it was lost… gone forever… I awakened and left my bedroom to look at the clock and the time. 6:02AM
It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun—
And then the wall rose,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky—
The wall. Shadow.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Going to sleep is a little like dying. We completely lose ourselves in a void for some period of time, until we arise again in a dream. When we do so, we may have a different identity and a different body. We may be in a strange place, with people we do not know, involved in baffling activities that may seem quite risky.
Most importantly, in dream the mind‘s limitations can be challenged and overcome. As they are, we develop flexibility of mind, and this is most important. Why is flexibility of mind so important? Because the rigidities of mind, the limitations of wrong views that obscure wisdom and constrict experience, keep us ensnared in illusory identities and prevent us from finding freedom.
(The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep)
Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, a lama in the Bön tradition of Tibet, presently resides in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the founder and director of Ligmincha Institute, an organization dedicated to the study and practice of the teachings of the Bön tradition. He was born in Amritsar, India, after his parents fled the Chinese invasion of Tibet and received training from both Buddhist and Bön teachers, attaining the degree of Geshe, the highest academic degree of traditional Tibetan culture. He has been in the United States since 1991 and has taught widely in Europe and America.
You don’t give up, you keep going straight, because through your practice you will inevitably confront yourself. This is how you refine your life, and at some point, by practicing in this way, you may realize that you’ve gone beyond even the most fearful place in your mind: fear of a nonexistent self.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~Buddha
The quote of the day generally comes to you without commentary… Not today. The quote doesn’t begin to describe the night I just had. I HAD DREAMS LAST NIGHT!!! We all dream, whether we remember them or not. I never have “JUST” dreams.
My dream history is flooded by terror. Running from… running to… panic. PTSD dreams… Waking up out of breath… sweating… fear… anger. I never get to where I don’t know where I’m getting to. NOT THIS NIGHT! I don’t remember the last time I had a dream(s) remembering more than the last five to ten seconds as I come out of the fog of that which keeps the night terror away. Mood enhancer and sleeper before bed… yes medicated sleep. Another difference last night…
I didn’t get more than two hours of sleep at a time, but it was all more than blissful. Maybe that was the sweet spot. I was with… err… surrounded by my small circle of friends and family and it was outside of my cave… surrounded by love.
Could blood thinned by rat poison (coumadin) be seeping out of the firewall that surrounds my cave? I don’t care the reason. Quite possibly the best night of sleep in decades.
Never mind we were dropping dingle-berries together, but that was significant. I saw faces… faces of the people I love. And it was all happy!
I didn’t know what to expect. In fact, I had no expectations. I knew I didn’t want to go back… all the way back. I had hoped that it could be the way it was with PTSD therapist number two… Indirectly going back… creating that timeline of events in my life. Creating family tree(s). It didn’t hurt as much the second time. Some memories can still invoke emotion, but not like the first time I opened my mouth after thirty plus years.
Patrick was two minutes late… I was outside until 9:02… I was just about to go humm… and he looked outside for me.
So I sit down and realize Patrick’s office is easily three times the size of Wade’s office or Eva’s office… even three times larger than my prescribing psychiatrist… all in the same building. Is there any relevance to that?
So Patrick starts… how are you? I said “fine”… and then I took initial control and said, “I’m used to starting with if I’ve had any dreams.” so we went there.
Dreams are complicated for me. In order to stop the night terrors I’ve had my whole life going back as long as I can remember, I went through an extended period of adjustments with combinations of psych meds that would let me sleep and without being held inside, unable to escape. The night terrors ended at 2mg clonazapam and 150mg of lamotrigene as a mood enhancer and slow sleeper taken about an hour before sleep. The clonazapam “can” knock me out on demand… so those go in <30mins from sleep… or even right before I lay down to sleep. At this combination I get rest, I know I dream… everyone does… but all I ever remember now is the last 5-10 seconds before waking up. And they aren’t terrors. I accept that lack of memory and detail for the opportunity to sleep without night terror
We went to the night terror(s)… or more specfically the one from last week… How I no longer have them every night… maybe twice in the last year. But this one was intense and a little different. They have always morphed into something surrounding air travel.
When I was a child, having UN-childlike things done to me, I used to be able to go out of body into third person… I would have a mental escape from traumatic experiences. I’d be right there watching… but not feeling. I could fly… really I could. I was good at it and could fly on demand… flutter my feet, wave my arms and fly to get out of my skin, while my epidermis was used for influence, pleasure, power and money. But the thing is… I suppose the child brain doesn’t comprehend that you can’t fly. I now know that I was there the whole time. I understand that, at least consciously.
I even became a sort of daredevil… back in the day when jumping for a beginner did not include a tandem jump. You just had a static line and off you went. I remember the first time I jumped… it was… maybe 1983 or 1982. I already knew I couldn’t fly… but fuck if I couldn’t establish a glide path back down to my feet (sometimes). The first one was the only scary one… I was first in line at I believe 3000 ft… I remember hearing: ready on three… one, two and out the door I was pushed before three. I thought it was going to last forever and then… when I was on my feet, it seemed suddenly as though it was over so fast. I’d like to think that since I could exert a certain level of control on descent… I was really flying.
As a young adult, I never boarded the flight in my dreams. I learned I couldn’t fly anymore. I would make it past security… it was easy before 9/11, but never onto an aircraft in my dreams. AND, as a young adult, I was unable to sleep or even dose on any aircraft, regardless of class of service… but I felt safe. I had my space. There were no space invaders.
I believe I projected information in an almost matter of fact way. All that shit that I went a lifetime never saying anything about came out quickly, methodically, and almost without emotion… there was a bit of emoting in my tone, but no emotional reaction… until…
…Until I got to the part of my path to adoption at age 53. I slowed down. There were a few pauses between run-ons. It felt like the session was going long… but when it got to the point in the process of the day the judge signed the adoption decree and the image recollection of who was there… slowing down was no longer able to hide happiness expressing itself with tears. Because my wait was over. My wait ended when my mom (she was really still sUSAn then and had been for thirty years or so) said “What if I adopt you?”… and in that one instant, a lifetime of waiting for a blood relative to look out for me. To fight for me. To be a parent to me… ended. I didn’t have to wait anymore. Born again in an instant… My wait was over no matter how much I pretended it didn’t matter to me… A really big part of me healed, immediately, on that day, with five simple words…
(h)wät/ /if/ /i/ /(uh)däpt/ /yoo/
Patrick let us go until 10:10. That’s one hour, twenty minutes… There are strict rules… fifty minutes then out the door… there are people after me. So it ended with his computer forced into a hard reboot and he said I’ll call you later and we’ll work on the scheduling and he acknowledged the two days a week thing… I’m so fucking lucky to be able to get 50 minutes times two… every week.